Armed Robber Nabbed

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BERLIN – Berlin Police last week arrested a Delaware man wanted in connection to an armed robbery in the town a week earlier after reacting to a tip about the sighting of the suspect’s vehicle.

Around 3 p.m. on April 12, Berlin Police responded to the Union Station Car Wash on Old Ocean City Blvd. for a reported armed robbery. The victim told police the suspect held a handgun under his sweatshirt and threatened to shoot the man if he didn’t turn over his wallet and money. The victim complied and lost his wallet and an undisclosed amount of cash in the hold-up.

The victim described the suspect as a light-skinned black man in his mid-20s with a goatee, around 5’7” with a medium build. The suspect was wearing a white sweatshirt and a dark-colored ball cap at the time of the incident. The suspect fled the scene in a small, white SUV with unknown Delaware registration. The victim described the vehicle as being similar to a Kia Sorento.

Last Thursday, Berlin Police were tipped off about a possible sighting of the suspect vehicle used in the armed robbery four days earlier. Officers responded to the area identified by the witness and observed a male subject that fit the description of the robber. When the officers approached, the suspect, later identified as Aaron T. Purnell, 23, began to flee on foot. He was apprehended and detained pending further investigation, which revealed Purnell was wanted as a fugitive from justice in Delaware.

A search of the vehicle revealed a baggie of marijuana in the center console. During processing, the armed robbery victim was contacted and brought to the scene to identify Purnell from a prepared photo line-up. The victim identified Purnell as his assailant. Purnell was charged with armed robbery, first- and second-degree assault, the use of a handgun in a violent crime, possession of marijuana and the fugitive warrant from Delaware. He was ordered held on a $105,000 bond although no bond was posted for the fugitive warrant.

Fugitive Caught Speeding

BERLIN – A Washington, D.C. man wanted for armed robbery and other serious charges in Prince George’s County was arrested in Worcester County last weekend after what started as a routine traffic stop and turned out to be a drug arrest.

Around 12:45 a.m. last Saturday, a Maryland State Police trooper patrolling in the area of Route 50 and Hall Rd. pulled over a 2006 Land Rover for speeding. A driver’s license check revealed the driver, later identified as Attila Euripedes Cosby of Washington, D.C. was driving on a suspended license and he was arrested. A search incident to the arrest revealed a plastic baggie containing seven ecstasy pills in Cosby’s jacket pocket.

During the booking process, it was learned Cosby was wanted on an outstanding warrant in Prince George’s County for armed robbery, first- and second-degree assault and handgun violations. He was charged with possession of CDS and paraphernalia along with multiple traffic violations. He was taken before a District Court Commissioner and held on a $3,000 bond and the P.G. County warrant detainer.

Pot Grow Room Uncovered

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City teen was arrested this week after a one-month investigation revealed an indoor marijuana growing operation.

Last Friday, the OCPD narcotics unit concluded a one-month investigation with the arrest of Daniel Paul Schaefer, 19. The narcotics unit executed a search and seizure warrant at Schaefer’s residence on Old Landing Rd. and found the suspect inside smoking marijuana. A search of Schaefer’s room revealed marijuana, numerous items of paraphernalia, “owe” sheets, digital scales, packaging materials and a small, indoor marijuana growing operation.

The indoor grow operation included functioning high intensity light bulbs over marijuana plants, the largest of which was over two-feet tall and fully mature. Schaefer was arrested and charged with manufacturing marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of marijuana and crack cocaine and possession of paraphernalia. He was transferred to Worcester County Jail where he was held on a $25,000 bond and later released.

Rage Over Power Box Mural

OCEAN CITY – A Philadelphia man was arrested on malicious destruction of property and disturbing the peace after repeatedly attacking a downtown power box with a mural of people painted on the side.

Last Friday, an OCPD officer on routine patrol in the Dorchester Street area heard a loud bang coming from the ocean block of the street. When the officer went to investigate, he observed a man later identified as Thomas McCoy, 34, jumping around in the middle of the street and yelling at a large, metal electrical box. The officer stated in his report the electric box had a mural of people painted on the side and McCoy appeared to be yelling at the people on the box. The officer also observed McCoy run up and punch one of the people depicted on the box in the head.

McCoy then ran in a circle in the middle of the street and was beating his chest and yelling. McCoy then ran up to the box again and kicked it. According to police reports, he backed off again and yelled at the people on the box. McCoy then ran up to the box a third time and punched one of the people depicted in the mural.

Meanwhile, a large group of people had gathered on the sidewalk in front of a nearby sub shop and was laughing and pointing at McCoy as he fought with the fictional people painted on the power box. The officer approached and had McCoy sit on the curb while he questioned him. When asked why he was hitting the mural, McCoy allegedly responded, “Cause man, look at them,” while he pointed to the mural.

When the officer asked McCoy for identification, he just handed over his wallet and said, “here, I don’t know.” According to police reports, McCoy was so intoxicated he could not tell police his telephone number, where he was or where he was staying. He was ultimately arrested and charged with malicious destruction of property over $500 and disturbing the peace. The electric box is owned by Delmarva Power.

Arrested Twice In Same Day

OCEAN CITY – A Dover man was arrested on drunk-driving charges twice within a span of a little over six hours last weekend.

Around 3 a.m. last Saturday, OCPD officers responded to an accident on Coastal Highway at 68th Street. One of the drivers, later identified as Justin Sharadin, 23, of Dover, was operating a pick-up truck when he was slammed into from behind by another vehicle. After a brief investigation, it was determined both drivers were driving under the influence of alcohol. Sharadin arrested for DUI and was later released.

Sharadin was released from custody at around 9:30 a.m. after his initial appearance before an Ocean City District Court Commissioner. After getting released, the allegedly still intoxicated Sharadin walked out to his vehicle and drove away. He was stopped again and promptly re-arrested by OCPD officers for DUI.

Attempted Murder Case

Forwarded To Circuit

SNOW HILL – A Delaware man arrested in February on six counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson after setting a fire in his girlfriend’s parent’s house in an attempt to look like a hero for putting it out had his case forwarded to Circuit Court last week.

The Delaware man’s attempt to get back the good graces of his fiancé backfired in February when he was arrested and charged with six counts of attempted murder and other charges after setting fire to her parent’s home. Shortly before 6 a.m. on Feb. 17, the Bishopville Volunteer Fire Company responded to a reported residential structure fire on Back Creek Rd.

Upon arrival, firefighters reported light smoke coming from the residence, but soon learned the fire had been extinguished prior to their arrival. The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office conducted an origin-and-cause investigation and determined the fire had been set intentionally.

The investigation revealed the suspect, later identified as Brent Phillip Wright, 22, of Bridgeville, willfully and maliciously used a cigarette lighter to ignite a cardboard box in the home’s kitchen. The fire quickly spread to the floor of the kitchen and threatened to expand before being extinguished by a resident of the house prior to the arrival of the fire department.

The investigation further revealed Wright was engaged to a young woman who lived in the house along with five other people including two young boys ages 3 and 6. Wright and his fiancé had been involved in a domestic dispute the night before and he was told to leave the house in the morning. However, Wright later told police in a written statement he used a cigarette lighter to ignite a cardboard box in the kitchen “in an attempt to be a hero, save the house and the people and gain his fiance’s trust back.”

Wright’s plan to become a hero by putting out the fire he started and saving the people in the house appeared to have backfired when fire investigators did not take the results of his actions lightly. Wright has been charged with first-degree arson, six counts of attempted first-degree murder, six counts of reckless endangerment and one count of second-degree malicious burning. Last week, the case was forwarded from District Court to Circuit Court.

Bus Stop Pot Bust

OCEAN CITY – A Delaware man was arrested on drug charges after resort police observed him hiding his stash behind an air conditioner near a downtown bus stop.

Around 9:45 p.m. last Friday, an OCPD officer on routine patrol responded to the area of 2nd Street for a report of disorderly individuals. The officer observed three subjects walking east on 1st Street toward Baltimore Ave. that met the descriptions provided in the disorderly conduct report and saw them sit down on a nearby bus stop.

Meanwhile, another officer approached the area in a marked police car when the first officer saw one of the men, later identified as Ronald R. Baker, 22, of Magnolia, Del., get up off the bench, run behind a nearby building and place an unknown object behind air conditioner, and return to the bench, all before the second officer got out of his vehicle.

The first officer then arrived and placed handcuffs on Baker until he could sort out what the suspect was hiding. The officer went behind the air conditioner and found a baggie of marijuana. Baker was then arrested for possession. During a search incident to the arrest, a scale was recovered on Baker’s person and possession of paraphernalia charges were tacked on.

Wedding Ring Thief Sentenced

SNOW HILL – A Millsboro, Del. man arrested in December for swiping a $12,500 wedding ring from a home in Ocean Pines pleaded guilty this week to theft over $500 and was sentenced to a year in jail, all but about a month of which was suspended.

In December, Ocean Pines Police arrested Marvin Lee Simpson, 53, after connecting him to the theft of a $12,500 wedding ring from a home in the community back in August. Simpson was employed at the time in a home improvement capacity and was doing work at the residence when the ring was reported stolen. The ring was later recovered.

This week, Simpson pleaded guilty to felony theft over $500 and was sentenced to one year in jail. Ten months of the sentence were suspended and Simpson was given credit for the 26 days he already served, netting him a little over a month of new jail time. He was also fined $100 and placed on probation for two years upon his release.

Burglary Charges Dropped

SNOW HILL – One of two suspects arrested in September on burglary, theft and forgery charges after allegedly breaking into a heating and air conditioning business and stealing a safe before trying to pass the business’s checks at local stores had the charges against her dropped last week in District Court.

On Sept. 27, 2008, Worcester County Sheriff’s deputies responded to 1st Service Heating and Air Conditioning in Bishopville for a reported burglary. The investigation revealed the suspects forcibly entered the business and stole a safe containing cash and several business checks.

Later, detectives learned two individuals, later identified as Dannielle Wojciechowski, 31, and Brian Hudson, 31, both of Bishopville, had attempted to purchase merchandise at Wal-Mart and Home Depot on Route 50 in Berlin. Investigators were able to locate the two suspects at their residence in Bishopville and they were taken into custody.

During the execution of a search and seizure warrant on the suspects’ residence, detectives located the stolen safe. Both Wojciechowski and Hudson have been charged with burglary, theft and forgery. Last week, Wojciechowski had the charges against her “nolle prossed” or not prosecuted. Earlier this month, Hudson was found guilty of fourth-degree burglary and was sentenced to a year in jail, all of which was suspended but the 54 days he had already served while awaiting trial. 

Expired License Leads

To Marijuana, Pills

OCEAN CITY – A Rock Hall, Md. woman was arrested on drunk driving and drug charges last week after a routine traffic stop revealed her driver’s license had been expired for over five years.

Around 11:45 p.m. last Monday, an Ocean City Police Department officer on patrol stopped a Ford Focus with Delaware tags on 17th Street and Baltimore Ave. after observing it straddling lanes of traffic on the roadway. The officer met with the driver, later identified as Lizbeth Marlene Brown, 49, of Rock Hall. Brown presented a license to the officer that had expired in February of 2004. A background check revealed she did not have a valid driver’s license.

While the officer spoke with Brown, he noticed her speech was slurred and there was a strong odor of alcohol emanating from her person. The officer had Brown exit her vehicle to perform a series of field sobriety tests, which she failed to perform satisfactorily. Brown was then arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

During a search incident to the DUI arrest, the officer found in Brown’s purse a plastic baggie of suspected marijuana and a small bottle of white pills imprinted Watson 749. The officer contacted the local poison control center and learned the pills were Oxycodone, an illegal controlled dangerous substance. Brown was then charged with possession of marijuana and Oxycodone.

Two Return To Car, Get Arrested

OCEAN CITY – Two Virginia men were arrested on drug charges last weekend after returning to a vehicle in which an officer had noticed marijuana cigars and open beer containers earlier in the night.

Around 9:40 p.m. last Saturday, an OCPD officer on a self-initiated “park and walk” detail in the downtown area observed a Ford Crown Victoria in the municipal parking lot on Worcester Street with two open containers of Colt 45 in the cup holders and several burnt marijuana cigars in the ashtray of the vehicle. The officer noted his observations and continued on his patrol.

About three hours later, at 12:35 a.m. on Sunday, the officer observed two men later identified as Markeith Lashawn Davis and Robbie O’Brien Harris, Jr., both 19, return to the parking lot and enter the vehicle. The officer approached the vehicle and asked to Davis and Harris to step out and sit on the curb. The officer asked Davis how much marijuana was in the vehicle, but Davis said he didn’t know anything about pot in the car.

At that point, the officer conducted a probable cause search of the vehicle and found eight partially burned marijuana cigars in the ashtray. The officer noted in his report a strong odor of burnt marijuana throughout the vehicle. The officer then found a plastic baggie of marijuana under the back seat. Both Davis and Harris, Jr. were then arrested on possession charges.

The officer asked Davis if he and Harris, Jr. had driven together and he replied yes. When he asked Davis where he was sitting in the vehicle when they drove, Davis said he was on the roof. Davis was generally uncooperative and did not answer the officer’s questions, according to police reports. Davis was arrested because he had driven the vehicle registered to his mother where the pot was found. Harris, Jr. was also arrested because the officer deemed it reasonable to believe he knew of the existence of the weed in the car.

Deer Poacher Loses License

SNOW HILL – A Berlin man cited in December for hunting deer during a closed season and falsifying reporting records pleaded guilty last week to the charges and was fined, placed on probation and forfeited his hunting license for three years.

In December, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police (NRP) received information about illegal deer poaching in northern Worcester County. The investigation led NRP officers to charge Daniel P. Lekites, 20, of Berlin, with 11 charges including hunting deer during a closed season and making a false entry into public records, namely the Maryland Harvest Check-in System.

Last week, through a plea bargain, Lekites pleaded guilty to hunting deer during a closed season and making a false entry into public records and the other charges were dropped. Lekites received probation before judgment, but was fined $500, placed on supervised probation for 18 months and was forced to forfeit his hunting license for three years.

Probation For Ruckus

OCEAN CITY – A Willards woman arrested in January on assault and disorderly conduct charges after raising a ruckus at a north-end convenience store after being involved in a fight pleaded guilty this week to disorderly conduct and was fined and placed on probation for a year.

In January, an OCPD officer responded to a reported fight in progress at the Wawa store on 120th Street. Upon arrival, the officer discovered no fight in progress, but did come into contact with one of the altercation’s alleged combatants, later identified as Jodi Zlotorzynski, 27, of Willards. While the officer was talking with the suspect, she began yelling and cursing at the other party involved in the fight, screaming “shut the [expletive deleted] up,” and “what the [expletvie deleted] are you laughing at.”

She allegedly continued her profanity-laced tirade as customers entered and left the store, many of whom had looks of disgust on their faces, according to police reports. The officers on scene told Zlotorzynski to stop yelling and told her to sit in her car while they sorted out what had happened. When she refused to comply with the officers’ demands and continued her yelling and screaming, Zlotorzynski was placed under arrest for disorderly conduct.

Meanwhile, the investigation revealed what had happened prior to the officers’ arrival. Apparently, the altercation began inside the store when words were exchanged between two customers and pushing and shoving ensued inside the store. The two people involved in the altercation went outside, at which point Zlotorzynski got out of her vehicle and got involved. According to reports, she punched one of the persons involved in the argument in the face.

Zlotoryznski later admitted punching the victim in the face and told police she would have done it again if they hadn’t arrived when they did. The victim had a small cut on his lip and stated he had been punched by Zlotoryznski. Based on the evidence, she was also charged with second-degree assault.

This week in District Court, Zlotorzynski pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and received probation before judgment. She was fined $300 and placed on probation for one year.

Eight Displaced By Fire

POCOMOKE – A faulty electrical outlet is being blamed for a residential fire last weekend that displaced eight people, including three children.

Last Saturday, firefighters responded to a reported fire at a residential structure on Walnut Street in Pocomoke after a witness reported flames showing from the rear of the building. The structure was divided into two apartments with three people living on the first floor and five people, including three children, living on the second floor. Firefighters brought the blaze under control and remained on the scene for three hours. No injuries were reported, but the fire displaced all eight residents of the building.

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